During The Chronicle's Duke Student Government presidential debate, we asked the three  candidates—sophomore Jackson Dellinger, junior Riyanka Ganguly and sophomore Will Hardee—questions about each of them based on The Chronicle's coverage of DSG this year. We compiled some of the most interesting responses below. Additional coverage of the debate can be found here.  

The Chronicle: Jackson, as the only member who hasn’t served on the Executive Board, how you plan to compensate for that potential lack of experience?

Jackson Dellinger: I think I’ve done a pretty good job making sure I know most everything that’s going in in DSG. If we want to talk about the various attendance policies or how size affects DSG, well I’ve read almost all of the records that we have in the DSG office, so I know our institutional history. Y’all provide wonderful information dating back over a decade about DSG. So if Will and I want to talk about campus council, I can say, “Hey, we had one, it was 120 people,” right, and if Riyanka and I want to talk about an open forum for students to put in their issues, I can say, “Yes, we tried that last year via the Duke Petitions page.” In most cases, when a project comes up, we’ve tried it before, and I know about it, right, and through that fount of information, once again, thank you guys, I think I can compensate to a large extent for an information gap.

If we want to talk about raw experience running committees and stuff like that, last year I co-ran the surplus committee with then senate president pro-tempore Brian Hopkins. This year I’ve done I think a pretty good job floating from committee to committee and making myself relatively well versed in each of them, with the exception of Academic Affairs. But luckily [Kushal Kadakia], who’s the EVP [Kadakia is running unopposed for the EVP position], is from the committee, so any potential gap—and I think that’s the only one I might even have, although I think, no, I know that one pretty well too—is filled.

And then, I also really do believe that if the narrative that we’re all having is that listening to the student body is what’s most important, and then making those changes most efficaciously as chief, well then listening doesn’t come from DSG, and I have a history of succeeding in every project that I do. So I feel pretty good.

TC: Riyanka, last year, The Chronicle reported that your sorority gave incentives for members to advertise on the current president’s [Senior Tara Bansal] behalf. In fact, our reporting shows that you received a merit point for making that advertisement. What are your thoughts on groups providing incentives to its members to advocate on behalf of candidates?

Riyanka Ganguly: So, I’m very against that. This year with my sorority I’ve been very clear not to do that, and they’ve been clear that they won’t be doing anything like that either. To be very honest, right now with my sorority only my closest friends have changed their profile pictures or anything like that. You can check it if you want, and you would find that evidence, but while that has happened in the past, I can assure you it hasn’t happened this year, and to The Chronicle and anyone, feel free to look into that.

TC: Will, last year, you voted to provide more funding for Mock Trial that SOFC allocated during annual budgeting. Senators and students raised concerns that members of DSG voted for this additional funding because they were in the same fraternity as Billy Silk, Alpha Epsilon Pi, which you are a member of, and that they overlooked how constrained the budget was for a friend. Can you defend your vote? To add on, do you promise to not allow your affiliation with any group on campus that you belong to, to affect your decision making as president?

Will Hardee: To go off of that and my involvement with my fraternity last year, during the Young Trustee election one of the members of my fraternity was in there and one of my best friends. I love Max Schreiber to death, but I campaigned pretty hardcore for [Jamal Edwards, who won the election].

I’ve never used my fraternity to connect me to different sorts of policies. To talk about why I agreed with the Mock Trial funding, Mock Trial is such an awesome group at Duke, and they’ve pulled together some national championships, they’ve pulled together a lot of different high rankings, they’ve won a lot of different sorts of competitions and they’ve ranked pretty high every single year. I definitely want these sorts of groups to continue to thrive at Duke, groups that have like a continued history of sort of success and winning competitions in those sorts of things, so that’s why I voted for Mock Trial, and it had nothing to do with Billy Silk. I definitely am committed to not letting my fraternity influence me, my fraternity is actually kind of one of the more conservative fraternities and I’ve disagreed with a lot of things that they’ve brought to me and I haven’t brought it to DSG.